Are Paper Shredders Worth It?

Are Paper Shredders Worth It

Last updated on June 4th, 2021

Paper shredders are most popular in offices, whether that be at home or in the workplace. They’re most commonly used as a means of data protection and the documents being shredded usually contain sensitive information and personal details. 

Paper shredders have their advantages as well as their disadvantages, all of which you’ll need to consider before making a decision.

Benefits of using a paper shredder

Data Protection

As briefly mentioned above, using a paper shredder can protect your, and your business’ private data and information. With a paper shredder, you’re able to shred sensitive documents, credit cards, cards, and tapes. This can help to prevent them from ending up in the wrong hands. At times, you print the client’s document, but it does not come out the way it is supposed to be.

When this happens, the most sensible way to suppose of it is by putting it through a paper shredder. Even if you don’t run a business, it’s still useful to be able to shred your letters at home such as bank statements and confidential documents.

It’s Safer

Some large businesses get their documents shredded by a third-party company. Although this is convenient, it is not as safe as shredding “in-house.” As soon as confidential documents leave the premises, they’re at risk of being leaked. But if you have your own paper shredder at home, you’ll be able to get rid of any waste paper immediately. This reduces the risk of your data being leaked or stolen. 

It’s Clean

A clean working environment can promote productivity in the workplace as well as creating a more welcoming atmosphere for visitors to enjoy (if it’s a public office). If your work is heavily paper-based and you have multiple sheets of waste paper every day, they can pile up and make your office appear messy and unkempt.

Shredding sensitive documents as soon as possible will ensure that your office space remains clean, neat, and safe. 

It’s Eco Friendly

If you work in a role that uses a lot of paper every day, you can probably imagine the impact it has on the planet when it’s disposed of. A paper shredder slices in a way that means you can compress the shavings smaller than you’d be able to with ordinary sheets. This makes transporting and disposing of the paper much easier and more time-efficient.

The shredded paper takes up far less space than normal paper.

Disadvantages of using a paper shredder

They can be dangerous

Although paper shredders are fairly common in homes nowadays, many people are unaware of the potential risks they pose. When a paper shredder is used incorrectly, or the proper precautions are not taken, accidents and injuries are likely. However, a study has proven that it’s children who are most at risk.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently investigated home paper shredder injuries. Their research showed that 71% of the 31 home paper shredder injuries were to children under 12 years of age. Over half of those injuries involved children under 3 years of age.

There are more sustainable options

Although shredding waste paper is more eco-friendly than just tossing the sheets in the trash, there are still more sustainable options out there. While many people will make the effort to responsibly dispose of shredded paper at a recycling facility, many people do not. Especially those who only own a paper shredder for convenience and time-efficiency reasons.

As it is sometimes unclear what toxins are used in paper ink or credit card plastic, you can’t always know if your shredded paper is safe to recycle. Using a third-party shredding company can eradicate this issue.

They take up space

If you live in the city or any sort of small home or apartment, you’ll know just how precious space is. While many people purchase a paper shredder in the hopes of creating more space by getting rid of stacks of paper, the shredder itself can be bulky and take up precious space on your desk or floor.

Also, the average home paper shredder can only shred a small handful of paper at any one time, so it would take a long time to get through piles of documents. 

Initial costs

Although average-sized home paper shredders aren’t insanely expensive, it is still a cost that you’ll need to take into consideration. The price of office paper shredders can differ from brand to brand, and the size can be another contributing factor.

The shredder may appear as a cheap investment when compared with the cost of the certified shredder service providers. So the users have to make an informed decision in this case.

Are cheap shredders worth it?

You can get a good paper shredder for 50-100 dollars. However, the cheaper the model, the lower the quality of the cut. Small and cheap paper shredders probably won’t be able to cut up waste paper as small as larger machines. Also, cheaper machines probably won’t be able to handle too many sheets at one time without risking jamming it. 

When buying a paper shredder, avoid any models that are advertised as producing a “ribbon cut.” This is a weak cut as the strips remain A4 in length, they’re just sliced to 6mm in length. This means that if someone rifled through your shredded paper with the intention of stealing information, they’re probably going to be able to.

While it wouldn’t be an easy task, a particularly determined thief could manage it. This is because the strips of paper are big enough to reveal singular numbers in isolation. These ribbon-cut shredders tend to be much cheaper than criss-cross shredders, so be sure to double check before making a purchase.


Generally, buying a paper shredder is worth it. However, if you work with highly sensitive information or waste paper in bulk, then you may want to work with a professional shredding service that can ensure that your information is 100% responsibly destroyed and disposed of, reducing the chances of someone stealing your personal information.